Flores de Mayo and Tapusan Festival

Once the month of May turn up, it signals the start of Flores de Mayo (Flowers of May). And often referred here in Batangas as ALAY, which means an offering of flowers to the Virgin Mary.

The festival is said to have started in 1854 when the Vatican declared the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of Mary. Was introduced by the Spaniards, and celebrated in Batangas and other neighboring towns after Mariano Sevilla’s interpretation of the devotional Flowers of May.

The religious tradition is held annually for the whole month of May. Prayers and flowers are offered to the Virgin Mary daily, until the 31st of May. And it is on this day, that the yearly Tapusan Festival is celebrated in Alitagtag town. The celebration is a way to give thanks to God and to the Virgin Mary for rain, for flowers and crops to bloom and a bountiful harvest.

Most of the barrios here in Batangas prepares for the yearly occasion with their respective hermano/hermana (person responsible for the event). The hermano/hermana starts by building the tuklong (temporary chapel made of light materials) with the help of the male villagers. Likewise the female villagers are responsible for decorating the altar of the Virgin Mary.

It is usually the elderly of the village that selects who will be lucky young lady to offer flowers to the Virgin Mary during the said day. The selected offerer is responsible for the snacks and preparations for the day.

During the offering, hymns are sung by the offerer with flowers at hand. While the organizers together with some members of the community follow the offerer singing a religious song.

The main event or the grand finale is on May 31. The big procession and what is commonly called the Santacruzan (Festival of the Holy Cross). The chosen pretty young ladies parade the streets representing the different characters of the commemoration, the Accolades of Our Lady. The beautiful teens are dressed in their best gowns representing a range of Reinas (Queens) in the parade. Escorted by their handsome partner outfitted in elegant barong tagalog (Filipino formal attire).

And in Batangas, the most notable parade is in the town of Alitagtag. All of the barrios of the town participate in the Tapusan Festival with magnificent floats garnished with flowers. A must see event; the day starts with a marching band roaming the streets, lots of good food and conclude with a big party.

Furthermore if you are in Batangas during the month of May, this is your chance to see and experience the Flores de Mayo.

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